Great espresso machine at an even better price. Customer service is #1.
Positive Product Points
Nice footprint on the counter and the Barista is well made. Very easy to use and produces a really good espresso. Frothing is also very easy to do with just a little practice.
Negative Product Points
I really don't care for the mucky sludge in the portafilter after pulling a shot, although it's only a minor inconvenience. No other negatives.
I went into Starbucks wanting to look at the Barista before I made the decision on purchasing a Barista or a Silvia. The reviews here at CG were very helpful. Anyone considering buying a Starbucks Barista should head to their nearest Starbucks ASAP. I was told by the manager when I bought my Barista that Starbucks is getting rid of their Starbucks brand machines and will only be carrying name brand machines like DeLonghi and others, as soon as they sell out of all Starbucks machines. Currently the Barista is $199 which is why I bought it, plus they gave me a starter package and 1lb of coffee for free. Had the Barista not been this inexpensive, I'm sure I would have bought a Silvia. I took this home, opened it up, washed the parts and pulled a very nice shot of espresso. Since last week I have been pulling 4-6 shots of espresso per day and each time it has gotten better and better. It took me about 4 attempts at frothing before it started turning out right. Now I can produce as much froth as I want. The Barista brews a shot in about 20 seconds and I can froth 10 ounces of milk in about 45 sec. to a minute. Overall I am very pleased with the results of the Starbucks Barista.
The manager of the Starbucks was only marginally knowledgeable about the product. However, she was honest and went out of her way to make sure I was a satisfied customer. That says a lot. Starbucks coffee beans are ok but I get better beans at a local company that roasts their own beans and has a large selection of coffee to choose from.
Three Month Followup
I am very pleased with the performance of the SB Barista. I have continued to pull anywhere from 3-6 shots a day and the espresso is very good and consistent. The SB Barista continues to froth milk very good but not to the point of producing milk for latte art. Maybe I am still in the learning curve for latte art so time will tell. Overall I am very happy with my purchase and use of the Starbucks Barista and would still highly recommend it to anyone who might be looking and could find one.
One Year Followup
After one year, the Starbucks Barista is still going strong. I am still pulling 3-6 shots every day and the espresso is still consistently good. I am very pleased with the performance of the Barista and would definately purchase one again. The only complaint I have is that it does not microfoam milk well enough to do latte art. You can't have everything though!